Field Museum

Field Museum The Field Museum fuels a journey of discovery across time to enable solutions for a brighter future rich in nature and culture.
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We fuel a journey of discovery across time to enable solutions for a brighter future rich in nature and culture. Every day we contribute to groundbreaking scientific research thanks to almost 40 million specimens and artifacts in our collections and over 150 scientists on staff. Discovering, collecting, collaborating, researching, educating, conserving, solving—there’s a lot of work to do. And we’re on it. 🌎

Goliath beetles, of which there are five species, are some of the largest insects on Earth by size and weight. If they l...
02/25/2020

Goliath beetles, of which there are five species, are some of the largest insects on Earth by size and weight. If they look intimidating, don’t worry—they feed primarily on tree sap and fruit in the tropical forests of Africa. 🍌

Amazing bugs are everywhere. 🐞 Meet those that can collaborate, deceive, and even zombify ➡️ fieldmuseum.org/fantasticbugs

Owl be honest: Monday came too soon. Whooo are you feeling like this morning? We're #2. 😳There are over 200 species of t...
02/24/2020

Owl be honest: Monday came too soon. Whooo are you feeling like this morning? We're #2. 😳

There are over 200 species of this nocturnal bird of prey, which can be found in almost every region of the world. These raptors have forward-facing eyes, a sharp beak, and flat face. 🦉 Thanks to 14 neck vertebrae—double that of humans!—owls can rotate their noggin up to 270 degrees. The smallest of this bunch is the elf owl who weighs a mere 1 ounce.

Enjoy more illustrations from 1860 publication, "The Animals of the Netherlands, Vertebrates" ➡️ bit.ly/NetherlandsAnimals

🦖🚨  SUE the T. rex would like to remind you the end of Free February approaches quickly! 🦖🚨  Our carnivorous colleague i...
02/21/2020

🦖🚨 SUE the T. rex would like to remind you the end of Free February approaches quickly! 🦖🚨

Our carnivorous colleague is always included in your museum admission, but Illinois residents can see the world's best preserved and most complete theropod for free the rest of this month. This PSA (Priority SUE Announcement) has been brought to you by Cretaceous Communications.

[📷: @cleyball]

Our researchers are busy studying the one thing all life on Earth has in common: DNA. 🧬 At our state-of-the-art genetic ...
02/20/2020
DNA Discovery Center

Our researchers are busy studying the one thing all life on Earth has in common: DNA. 🧬 At our state-of-the-art genetic research facility, you can watch our scientists working with the genetic keys to development and reproduction. 🔬

On weekdays from 11am to noon, you can even talk to the scientists working in the lab and ask your DNA-related questions. 👩🏽‍🔬 Swing by during your Free February visit.

Despite our planet’s astounding biodiversity, all life on Earth has one thing in common: DNA. It contains the genetic keys to development and reproduction, from microscopic bacteria to plants, fungi, and animals. Learn more about this molecule—and its importance in scientific research—in the D...

Work-in-progress preview! 👀 This is the base layer of a ten-foot sculpture that will be unveiled in the upcoming Apsáalo...
02/19/2020

Work-in-progress preview! 👀 This is the base layer of a ten-foot sculpture that will be unveiled in the upcoming Apsáalooke Women and Warriors exhibition.

Artist Ben Pease first created a one-foot-tall clay sculpture. The maquette was then 3D scanned and a computer-controlled cutting table carved the man and woman from pink foam. Next, Ben went to work refining the base layer’s shape and proportions. Once he’s satisfied, he’ll add layers of fiberglass and paint. This duo is dressed in a style popular among Plains Indian tribes in the early- to mid-1900s. Ben is still considering the specific imagery he’ll use to finish the piece, but it will be representative of his own experience growing up as an Apsaalooke/Tsitsistas/Hidatsa person.

See Ben's embodiment of the traditional and contemporary in #WomenAndWarriors, opening March 13. fieldmuseum.org/womenandwarriors

This amazingly lifelike orangutan was created in the 1950s using a special process invented by Field taxidermist Leon Wa...
02/19/2020

This amazingly lifelike orangutan was created in the 1950s using a special process invented by Field taxidermist Leon Walters and continued by his colleague Carl Cotton. Rather than treat real animal skin, Walters and Cotton would create a plaster mold of the animal, coating the inside with layers of colored cellulose acetate. Once hardened and removed, those layers formed a remarkable animal model. 🐵

After 70 years, however, this orangutan replica needed a little “face lift” before going on display. Enter Field conservator Dan Kaping who endeavored to restore the damaged, missing parts of the specimen. He first used special adhesive and Japanese tissue to build up a textured base layer. Then, using resin and different colors of opaque and translucent paints, Dan matched his repairs to the rest of the face. 🎨 (During this time, hair pins were key in keeping this primate’s hair safe and out of the way!) After 70 hours, Dan’s work is noticeable only by referencing the “before” and UVA-vis photos—just the way he wants it. The fluorescent UVA-vis images are created using ultraviolet radiation. The repairs absorb this radiation, better revealing Dan’s extensive work. ✨

See this orangutan in A Natural Talent: The Taxidermy of Carl Cotton ➡️ fieldmuseum.org/carlcotton

A literal high five. 🖐 This right whale skeleton is suspended from the ceiling, giving a great view of the bones in its ...
02/17/2020

A literal high five. 🖐 This right whale skeleton is suspended from the ceiling, giving a great view of the bones in its flipper.

Look surprisingly similar to your own hand? 🧐 Whales are aquatic mammals, or cetaceans, and therefore have the same kind of forelimb bones as humans. In whales, however, the joint between the forearm (radius and ulna) and upper arm (humerus) is fused, creating a functional paddle. This skeleton was part of the Museum’s founding collection dating back to 1893 and is still on display near the Tsavo Lions. 🐋

Prepare yourself: things are about to get steamy. 🔥 Just in time for Valentine's Day our millipede experts have solved a...
02/14/2020

Prepare yourself: things are about to get steamy. 🔥 Just in time for Valentine's Day our millipede experts have solved a century-long mystery: which parts go where when millipedes mate. 💖

In general, millipedes are a pretty shy group of arthropods. But the genus Pseudopolydesmus are the exhibitionists of the millipede world. They'll do it anywhere, including in the Petri dish right under the microscope. 💗

Our scientists captured these intimate moments under UV lights, which revealed important details about millipede reproduction. For instance, males have specialized feet they dip into their blue ejaculate; females can seal their vulvae until they're ready to lay eggs. 💘

Knowing more about millipede sex helps scientists understand how millipedes are related and could shed light on how they evolved. As Associate Curator Petra Sierwald reminds us, "There are 16 orders of millipedes in the world, and for most of them, we have only faint ideas what the vulvae look like." bit.ly/MatingMillipedes

[📷: Stephanie Ware]

If you were one of the 1,000 plants in our hanging gardens, this would be your view of Stanley Field Hall. 🌱😍[📷: Ivan Jo...
02/13/2020

If you were one of the 1,000 plants in our hanging gardens, this would be your view of Stanley Field Hall. 🌱😍

[📷: Ivan Jones]

02/13/2020
Museum Houseplants get a Lighting Update

Our hanging gardens give new meaning to "garden party." 🕺🏾🌱 These bright, colorful lights are more than decoration, though. We're making some updates to provide more light for our nature clouds. The purple-blue light aids the plant's production of chlorophyll, promoting plant growth. Meanwhile, the white lights help us humans better view the greenery.

Learn more about our 1,000+ house plants ➡️ bit.ly/FMHangingGardens

Happy birthday to Charles Darwin who was born on this day in 1809. 🥳 The English biologist worked tirelessly and also ke...
02/12/2020

Happy birthday to Charles Darwin who was born on this day in 1809. 🥳

The English biologist worked tirelessly and also kept up abundant correspondence with other naturalists. 📬 We're lucky to have Darwin's letters to Benjamin Walsh, the first official state entomologist in Illinois and an avid supporter of Darwin's theory of evolution.

These letters inspired Field staffer Molly Butler on a journey where she encountered tortoises, marine iguanas, and Blue-footed Boobies ➡️ bit.ly/FollowingDarwin

We celebrate #WomenInScience today and every day. 🎉Specimen preparator Helen Moyer and conservation scientist Lesley de ...
02/11/2020

We celebrate #WomenInScience today and every day. 🎉Specimen preparator Helen Moyer and conservation scientist Lesley de Souza are just two of the hundreds of women that have contributed to science at the Field over the last 125 years.

Three cheers for the researchers, exhibition designers, accountants, curators, guest relations representatives, educators, docents, building attendants, fundraisers, artists, communicators, mentors, and colleagues that help enable solutions for a better tomorrow. 👏🏿👏👏🏽

This 75-million-year-old Maiasaura skeleton is from a juvenile found in Montana. ⛏ This species of Hadrosaur means "good...
02/10/2020

This 75-million-year-old Maiasaura skeleton is from a juvenile found in Montana. ⛏ This species of Hadrosaur means "good mother reptile" in Greek. Paleontologists first discovered Maiasaura in a nesting colony with fossilized eggs, embryos, and young individuals. The find revealed that this dinosaur laid eggs in soft dirt nests and that mothers fed their young while in the nest. The young animals walked on their hind legs, eventually walking on all fours as adults.

See this and other Hadrosaurs in our Hall of Dinosaurs 🦖🦕 fieldmuseum.org/evolvingplanet

Our study of the natural world includes the reaches beyond our planet. 🌒 In fact, our scientists have been busy analyzin...
02/07/2020
Single moon dust grain collected during Apollo 17 'preserves millions of years of history'

Our study of the natural world includes the reaches beyond our planet. 🌒 In fact, our scientists have been busy analyzing rocks from the Moon, atom by atom. Using a single grain of the lunar soil collected by Apollo 17 astronauts, Jennika Greer was able to identify products of space weathering, like pure iron, water, and helium. 🌓 She did this by extracting a minuscule Moon sample and then zapping it with a laser to knock off individual atoms one by one.

This is a big deal. Notably because Moon samples aren’t exactly easy to come by, and this method allows researchers to examine the same precious sample multiple times in different ways. 🌔 Additionally, this method for studying lunar dust can give scientists insight into space weathering and how astronauts could manage resources during a long Moon mission.

In other words: this is one small grain of Moon dust, one giant leap for lunar studies. 🌕

A single grain of moon dust collected during Apollo 17 was analyzed atom by atom -- and it contains iron, helium and water.

Carl Cotton was the Field's first African American taxidermist, working here from 1947 to 1971. Through research and soc...
02/06/2020

Carl Cotton was the Field's first African American taxidermist, working here from 1947 to 1971. Through research and social media we found Carl's relatives, and they helped us dig into his legacy. ✨

We've been honored to host four generations of the Cotton family during the development and opening of A Natural Talent: The Taxidermy of Carl Cotton. Here, TJ—Cotton’s great-grandson—looks at a bird display created by his great-grandfather. 🦜 Visit the exhibition and then take a tour to see Carl's stunning work still on display around the museum ➡️ fieldmuseum.org/publictours

[📷: Latoya Flowers]

Built in 1881 on Tokomaru Bay, this wharenui is one of only three such Maori meeting houses now outside of New Zealand. ...
02/05/2020

Built in 1881 on Tokomaru Bay, this wharenui is one of only three such Maori meeting houses now outside of New Zealand. Structural elements of the house form the body of Ruatepupuke, the Maori ancestor who brought the art of woodcarving to the world.

Since 1986, the Field has partnered with the descendants of the house's original builders in New Zealand so it can be used for community meetings, public events, and other gatherings. Step inside this sacred structure ➡️
bit.ly/RuatepupukeII

"Every time you vote for the Field, a T. rex gets its wings."Okay, that might not be *exactly* accurate, but we do know ...
02/04/2020
Vote - Field Museum - Best Science Museum Nominee: 2020 10Best Readers' Choice Travel Awards

"Every time you vote for the Field, a T. rex gets its wings."

Okay, that might not be *exactly* accurate, but we do know SUE would be pleased as punch to get your endorsement. 🦖

You can vote for us once a day from now until February 17. Or as we say in Chicago: vote early and vote often! 😉

Field Museum: Vote for your favorite science museum in North America!

Isn't this fossilized Oviraptor egg nest eggsceptional?! It was found in Mongolia's Gobi desert in 1925, embedded in led...
02/03/2020

Isn't this fossilized Oviraptor egg nest eggsceptional?! It was found in Mongolia's Gobi desert in 1925, embedded in ledges of soft sandstone from 66 million years ago.

Fossilized egg nests like this gave scientists insight into the brooding habits of Oviraptor—but only after its name was eggsonerated.

Let us eggsplain: Oviraptor means "egg seizer." The first skeleton of this small theropod was discovered in 1924. The skull was positioned just inches from eggs thought to belong to a different dinosaur species. Thus, it was suspected the uncovered skeleton was a dinosaur attempting to steal, not sit. Later discoveries revealed that Oviraptor wasn't pillaging but parenting. A good reminder that things are not always what you eggspect.

See a nest of fossilized dinosaur eggs newly on display ➡️ fieldmuseum.org/evolvingplanet

Carl Cotton spent almost 25 years creating stunning exhibitions at the Field, never expecting to be the subject of one. ...
01/31/2020

Carl Cotton spent almost 25 years creating stunning exhibitions at the Field, never expecting to be the subject of one. Today we open a new exhibition, A Natural Talent: The Taxidermy of Carl Cotton.

Exhibitions developer Tori Lee dug into Carl's time at the Museum and realized, "as I kept digging, I found more and more of myself in Cotton’s story. Like me, he made exhibits on the fourth floor of the museum. Like me, he was a black person working at an institution with a complicated racial history. When visitors see this exhibit, I hope they see themselves in Cotton’s passion and determination to follow his dreams."

Here’s how Tori, and many others around our Museum, worked to uncover Carl Cotton's legacy ➡️ fieldmuseum.org/findingcarl 🙌🏿

Imagine being commissioned to paint dozens of large-scale murals depicting animals that you have no reference photos or ...
01/29/2020

Imagine being commissioned to paint dozens of large-scale murals depicting animals that you have no reference photos or real-life examples to draw from. 😳

From 1926-1930—five years after opening our current building—Charles Knight created 28 murals that illustrate life on Earth. 🎨 From the planet's first percolations to massive mammals, Knight worked with the Museum's curators to flesh out Jurassic sea reptiles, Cenozoic sabertooth cats, and everything in between—and before!

If you visit during Free February, see how many of these murals you can spot. 👀 (Hint: there are more than two dozen still on display!)

🔸🔸 Our winter wonderland might be awash with whites, but in Michoacán, Mexico a different kind of winter scene takes sha...
01/28/2020

🔸🔸 Our winter wonderland might be awash with whites, but in Michoacán, Mexico a different kind of winter scene takes shape. 🔸 Our conservation ecologist Abigail Derby Lewis went to these tropical forests where an estimated half of the monarch population resides between November and March. 🔸🔸🔸

🔸🔸🔸 "There are so many butterflies they weigh down even the tallest and most majestic fir trees, giving the appearance the whole forest is dripping with monarchs." 🔸🔸 bit.ly/MonarchOverwintering

Join us for free, after-hours access to the Museum this Thursday during Night of Ideas. 🙌 Engaging performances, energiz...
01/27/2020

Join us for free, after-hours access to the Museum this Thursday during Night of Ideas. 🙌 Engaging performances, energizing panels, inspiring ideas, and so much more.

Thursday is the new Friday. ✨ bit.ly/NightOfIdeas

Do you ever work from home? What about working from the jungle? 🌳📤 Our conservation team members have become pros at wor...
01/23/2020

Do you ever work from home? What about working from the jungle? 🌳📤

Our conservation team members have become pros at working remote. They live in the Amazon rainforest for weeks at a time, working with local partners on solutions for protecting these biodiverse regions. Learn about the joys and challenges of being "out of office." ➡️ bit.ly/LifeInTheJungle

📷:Jorge Enrique García Melo

When the fam has reached peak museum. 🥴Even the most curious and avid visitors have experienced it: museum fatigue. No m...
01/22/2020

When the fam has reached peak museum. 🥴

Even the most curious and avid visitors have experienced it: museum fatigue. No matter the age, nor the footwear, it can strike unexpectedly. ⚡️ For this reason we pack plenty of snacks, take breaks for a Bistro beverage, catch a 3D movie, and take advantage of benches. What tips do you have for staying energized during your museum visits?

[📷: Cathy Uhrich]

01/21/2020
Looking for Bugs in Vietnam

“Look at that fella!” Associate Curator Petra Sierwald is an ardent adventurer when it comes to arthropods—those invertebrate animals that include insects, spiders, and crustaceans. 😍 And she has a special place in her heart for millipedes. Meet all sorts of new friends and learn more about her research in the exhibition, Fantastic Bug Encounters! 🐞fieldmusuem.org/fantasticbugs

Carl Cotton worked at the Field for almost 25 years, creating spectacular taxidermy, mounts, and dioramas. A Natural Tal...
01/20/2020

Carl Cotton worked at the Field for almost 25 years, creating spectacular taxidermy, mounts, and dioramas. A Natural Talent: The Taxidermy of Carl Cotton—opening on January 31—reveals the art and work of the man behind iconic Field displays like the Marsh Birds of the Upper Nile.

Exhibition developer Tori Lee conducted extensive research and met with Carl’s relatives over the past year. “Now I know all these pieces of the Museum I love were created by him. When I walk up to one of his displays, I can see this black man creating it. The best part is, now other people will, too.”

Learn more about Carl Cotton’s legacy and celebrate Black History Month at the Field during Free February. fieldmuseum.org/carlcotton

01/17/2020
Iridescent hummingbird plumage comes from 'pancake-like' cells

We think of rainbows in the sky, but have you ever seen one fly? 🌈 Hummingbirds boast the brightest colors in nature, shimmering like a rainbow in flight. But how?

A recent study by Field ornithologist, Chad Eliason, reveals that the pigment-producing cells in hummingbirds' feathers are especially flat. These pancake-shaped melanin granules, called melanosomes, are arranged in stacks that reflect rainbows of light to a much higher degree than the melanosomes of other bird. Thus these birds shine bright when the light strikes just right. ✨

Hummingbirds owe their famous iridescent plumage to 'pancake-like' cells in their feathers, according to new research, which reflect a rainbow-like array of light just like shimmers off a soap bubble.

01/16/2020
Creating a Beaded Rosette

This is part of a beaded rosette made by Elias Jade NotAfraid that will be displayed in the upcoming exhibition, Apsáalooke Women and Warriors.

Because this touchable piece will allow visitors to feel the faceted beads and see the meticulous work, Elias uses non-traditional Kevlar thread to ensure the rosette's durability. He starts his pieces with a strong sense of the design but decides the colors as he beads. ✨
fieldmuseum.org/womenandwarriors

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1400 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL
60605

For more information about getting to The Field Museum, please visit our website at www.fieldmuseum.org and click on Plan Your Visit.

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Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
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Sunday 09:00 - 17:00

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